The Homesteading Files- getting fruity

Fruit trees are the gems of our gardens. They provide us with sweet and juicy fruit year after year. Some years are better than others; a late freeze or a wet spring can cut back on the fruit production. The first fruit trees I planted were loquats because they are free to dig up and grow prolifically in our area. It is easy to dig up a young sapling sprouting under an established tree. Your neighbor or friend will likely be happy for you to dig one up from under their mature tree. 

Summer is the time to plan your fruit grove. When planning for a loquat, you need to consider how big it will get.  Loquats can grow into medium sized trees, as tall as 20' and just as wide. It’s also important to know that loquats, unlike most other fruiting trees, is an evergreen and their foliage can act as a buffer from neighbors, the road, or north wind. Once you pot up your loquat, care for it in a partially shady area until the weather cools, making sure it gets water every day.

In the fall or winter plant it in the full sun. I have planted a whole grove of fruit trees since that first loquat. They are best planted in the fall and winter because the cooler, shorter days reduce the stress on the trees. The hole should be no deeper than the root-ball yet twice as wide. Plant it so that the juncture between trunk and root is level with the ground.  Mound the soil out from the trunk creating a bowl for water to collect and water daily for the first couple of weeks. Three stakes out forming a triangle of support will secure your tree grows straight.

Loquats are early and frequent fruiters. The bees love their blossoms and the fruit are delicious fresh, as jam, or dried. The dried fruit are much better than raisins.

For more on locally adapted fruit trees refer to IFAS' Fruit Page.

We also have many print and electronic books on the subject.

Happy Fruiting!!